McLaren Honda driver and 2009 world champion Jenson Button believes Formula One should never again increase the number of races in a season.
The calendar has been lengthened from 19 to 21 races in 2016, following the return of the German Grand Prix at the Hockenheimring and the addition of the Grand Prix of Europe at Azerbaijan’s Baku City Circuit.
“For me it is fine because I love racing and I wish there was another race next weekend,” Button told BT Sport.
“I fly in on a Thursday to the European races, and leave on a Sunday night whereas the mechanics work such long hours and they spend so much time away from home that 21 races is going to be tough.
“I think it is difficult for any mechanic or engineer to have a relationship right now, so having 21 races is very tough and for those guys it is not going to be easy. I just hope that it doesn’t grow in terms of races for 2017 because I think it will be too much.”
The Formula One calendar had just 17 races during Button’s first season in 2000. The 2016 season, Button’s 17th behind the wheel, will be the first time more than 20 take place.
During the 2000 season, only six of those races were staged outside of Europe. Next year 11 – not including those in Russia and Azerbaijan – will place on other continents.
“The first race next year starts later so it means there are a lot of back-to-backs and that is two weeks away from home for a lot of guys,” Button added.
“It is tough. I think you will probably have people hanging around less in terms of their role on the race team. You are going to get new people coming in after one year, which is a shame because it is nice having that atmosphere with people that you know and have worked with for years.”
The first race of the season will take place in Australia in March and six back to back races will have taken place by the time the final event of the season, in Abu Dhabi, rolls around in November.